04 June 2015, Lagos – Eyewitnesses of the fire disaster in Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos State sparked by a petrol tanker have blamed officials of the Lagos State Transport Management Authority, LASTMA, for causing the accident.
The LASTMA officials were alleged to have pursued the tanker until it fell off the bridge at Iyana-Ipaja upon which it caused the inferno that injured 14 persons, razed 34 buildings, 44 shops and 21 vehicles.
Residents also blamed the government for failing to renovate the bridge which has been faulty for more than 15 years.
Meanwhile, officials of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, yesterday visited the scene again to carry out an assessment of the victims as ordered by the state governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
The incident happened around 1a.m on Tuesday when the tanker which was moving from Agege end of the road lost control and fell off the bridge on getting to Ipaja Road, spilling its content which spread to five adjourning streets on the axis.
Victims count losses
As at yesterday, the victims were still counting their losses hoping that the state government will come to their aid as promised.
One of the victims, Mr. Emmanuel Chime, who lost a supermarket to the inferno, lamented that about N15m worth of goods were lost to the fire.
Another victim, Obinna Ojiakor, a boutique owner, said about N10m worth of goods were lost to the incident.
Also, a record company owner, Remi Odus said, “LASEMA officials were here today (yesterday) and they have done the enumeration of the victims, we hope they will live up to our expectation.”
However, some residents blamed the incident on unidentified officials of LASTMA, who were alleged to have chased the tanker driver before the incident occurred around 12.30am.
Residents of the area who spoke with Vanguard, also said the nearly 40-year-old bridge became weak following an auto crash which occurred about 15 years ago.